The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Latham & Watkins is a leading global law firm with over 2,600 lawyers serving multinationals, start-ups, investment banks, private equity funds, venture capital firms, sovereign wealth funds, governments, and other organisations from its offices across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the US. The firm is internationally recognised for its practices across a wide spectrum of transactional, litigation, corporate, and regulatory areas, and has received considerable market recognition for the handling of landmark matters.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial contracts; Corporate tax; Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity; Debt capital markets; Emerging markets; Employee share schemes; Employment: employers and senior executives; EU and competition; Fintech; High yield; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Private equity transactions – high-value deals; Private funds; Property finance; Restructuring and insolvency
Advised Theramex on its acquisition of the women’s healthcare assets of Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries in a deal worth $703m; advised the joint bookrunners on a $3bn notes offering and tender offer by the Government of Ukraine; acted for The Carlyle Group in its €10.1bn acquisition with GIC of AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals Business; advised Blackstone Group International Partners on its £.2.96bn acquisition of Paysafe Group; defending Barclays Bank, as security agent, on a dispute involving the £525m bond financing of the Four Seasons Healthcare Group
Bain Capital; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; CVC; FCM Technologies; Goldman Sachs; Onex Corporation; Qatar Investment Authority; RPC Group; TWINSET; Uniper
‘Global powerhouse’ Latham & Watkins’ ‘market position and reputation’ were a big draw for trainees. Many also cited the ‘lean deal teams’ as a major attraction. Home to a ‘diverse group of lawyers’, the ‘truly international’ firm treats its trainees ‘like adults’, giving them high levels of responsibility on plenty of ‘complex cross-border deals involving lots of jurisdictions’. The culture is inclusive and ‘trainees are treated as valued members of teams’. As is perhaps to be expected in a US firm like Latham, ‘the hours are tough’, but respondents assured us that ‘if you’re working late, it’s normally because you’re on an interesting deal or something exciting is kicking off’. What is more, the remuneration, which has made its way into The Lex 100 winners table, should help soften the blow of ‘uncertain hours’, ‘interrupted weekends’ and ‘doing your first ever all-nighter’. Highlights include ‘working on an investment arbitration submission from its inception to filing’ and numerous examples of recruits ‘running certain work streams’ and ‘running part of a deal’. Slightly more daunting was having to ‘work on fast-paced transactions with very limited experience at the beginning of a new seat’. Encouragingly, trainees feel that they have ‘more of an opportunity to talk to partners and associates about concerns or qualification options’. Correspondingly, the firm is a Lex 100 winner for confidence of being kept on. Pro bono is ‘clearly a significant priority’ for the firm and there are a ‘tremendous number of opportunities available’. To work at a firm with ‘international prestige’ which is perceived to be ‘at the top of the London legal market’, consider Latham & Watkins.
A day in the life of...
Neha Siddiqui newly qualified associate, Latham & Watkins
Departments to date: Corporate (equity capital markets), project finance, structured finance and derivatives, secondment to the Dubai office, focusing on project finance and debt capital markets. Qualified into the project finance department in London in August 2018
University:University of Nottingham
Degree:Law with Canadian Law
This is an example of a day I had as a trainee in the project finance team, which I have recently qualified into.
7.45am: I scroll through my BlackBerry as I take my seat on the train into work, catching up on any overnight developments and emails that have come through in preparation for the all-bank call scheduled for 9am this morning. We are looking to sign the multibillion-dollar corporate loan facilities for the national oil refining company of Kuwait in a few weeks’ time and are representing ten international banks and five export credit agencies (ECAs). It’s a landmark deal, being the largest ever ECA-backed corporate loan facility, and thoroughly representative of the kind of work Latham advises on – international, market-leading and challenging (read: exciting!).
8.45am: As I settle down at my desk, my supervisor and the other associate on the deal arrives and we catch up on the 'live' issues to be discussed on the call in relation to the facility agreements. I print out the relevant documents we will be referring to and we review these together in preparation.
9.00am: The call discusses comments we had received from the borrower’s counsel on the sanctions-related provisions, one of the most hotly debated provisions in facility agreements. We run through these with the lenders and arrive at a common position acceptable for all banks. The call lasts for roughly an hour, following which I am assigned the task of updating the relevant provisions in the facility agreements based on what is agreed on the call.
12.30pm: It’s the project finance team lunch and the whole team heads down together to the meeting room. Every month the entire team gets together to discuss current and prospective deals, any future business development initiatives and plan team social events. The meetings offer a great platform to interact with other associates and partners within the team in a relaxed environment and are truly characteristic of the non-hierarchical and genuinely friendly culture that Latham is so proud of.
2.00pm: I receive some client comments on a board resolution I had drafted earlier on in the week in connection with another ECA-backed project financing in Bahrain. I review these and discuss next steps with the supervising associate, who asks me to call the client and clarify some outstanding issues before circulating back an updated draft. While it may seem daunting at first (and client contact is always nerve-wracking!), I am always reminded that this is something that I will be expected to do on a regular basis as an associate and this opportunity to take on “early responsibility” is one of the best things about Latham.
5.30pm: I head down to Red & White (our in-house cafeteria) for a meeting with a fellow trainee to plan next steps for the office-wide clothing drive we are planning for Smart Works as part of the Women Lawyers Group. The charity provides interview training, clothing and mentoring support for vulnerable, unemployed and low-income women and it is amazing that Latham promotes and encourages its lawyers to be involved in such diversity initiatives. With the drive scheduled for next week, we draw up a list of next steps and logistical arrangements in relation to the storage and co-ordinating delivery of the donations to the Smart Works’ office. As I come back to my desk, I find that the posters I had prepared and asked to be printed for the clothing drive have arrived. Perfect, just in time!
7.00pm: I am nearing the end of my to-do list for the day. The only outstanding item is collating original signature pages of executed documents for a transaction we have signed recently and arranging for these to be sent to the relevant parties. Once I have finished, I ask my supervisor whether there is anything further to be done tonight before I pack up and head home for the day.
About the firm
Address:99 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3XF
Telephone: 020 7710 1000
Chair and managing partner: Richard Trobman
Office managing partner: Jay Sadanandan
Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Riyadh, Rome, San Diego, San Francisco, Seoul, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington DC
Who we are: Latham & Watkins has more than 2,600 lawyers in offices across Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia. Its non-hierarchical, consensus-based management style and ‘one firm’ culture makes Latham a unique place to work. Over 70% of the firm’s transactions involve five or more Latham offices and the collaborative atmosphere is strengthened by the firm’s diversity.
What we do: Latham’s award-winning London office is recognised for its work advising some of the world’s leading corporates, financial institutions and private equity firms on their most significant transactions, disputes, and regulatory matters.
What we are looking for: The firm is looking for outstanding people who have the potential to become exceptional lawyers. Initiative, enthusiasm, ambition, intellectual rigour and teamwork are some of the traits particularly valued at Latham. Trainees who demonstrate their motivation and ability to excel will thrive in a first-class training environment and be rewarded with a brilliant career. In terms of academics, we look for candidates who have achieved a minimum of AAB at A-Level (or equivalent) and a 2(1) at undergraduate degree.
What you'll do:Latham offers a training contract with real responsibility combined with supervision from market-leading lawyers. Trainees spend six months in four different seats and have the opportunity to apply for a client or international secondment in their third or fourth seat. In addition to training organised by our learning and development team throughout the training contract, trainees also benefit from a core three-week 'trainee foundation' designed to bridge the gap between law school and practice.
Perks: Life assurance, private health and dental insurance, pension scheme, season ticket loan for transport, cycle to work scheme, subsidised restaurant on site, discounted gym membership.
Sponsorship:GDL and LPC fees and a maintenance grant of £8,000 per year. For future trainees who have already completed the GDL and/or LPC, the firm will reimburse those fees in full. In addition, if our future trainees achieve a distinction in their LPC they will receive a £500 bonus.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 79
Other fee-earners: 337
Total trainees: 48
Trainee places available for 2021: 24
Applications received pa: approx 500
First year: £46,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £128,205
What's involved:An online application form, a video interview and an assessment day (consisting of an interview, a presentation and a written task).
When to apply:
Training contract: By 14 July 2019.
Spring vacation scheme: By 6 January 2019.
Summer vacation scheme: By 6 January 2019.